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James Pleasants

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Title: James Pleasants  
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Subject: John Taylor of Caroline, William S. Archer, 16th United States Congress, United States congressional delegations from Virginia, List of College of William & Mary alumni
Collection: 1769 Births, 1836 Deaths, College of William & Mary Alumni, Democratic-Republican Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Democratic-Republican Party State Governors of the United States, Democratic-Republican Party United States Senators, Governors of Virginia, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Virginia, People from Washington County, Virginia, United States Senators from Virginia, Virginia Democratic-Republicans, Virginia Lawyers, Virginia State Court Judges, Virginia Supreme Court Justices
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James Pleasants

James Pleasants, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 16th district
In office
March 4, 1811 – March 3, 1813
Preceded by John W. Eppes
Succeeded by John W. Eppes
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 17th district
In office
March 4, 1813 – December 14, 1819
Preceded by Thomas Gholson, Jr.
Succeeded by William S. Archer
United States Senator
from Virginia
In office
December 14, 1819 – December 15, 1822
Preceded by John W. Eppes
Succeeded by John Taylor
22nd Governor of Virginia
In office
December 1, 1822 – December 10, 1825
Preceded by Thomas M. Randolph, Jr.
Succeeded by John Tyler, Jr.
Personal details
Born (1769-10-24)October 24, 1769
Powhatan County, Virginia
Died November 9, 1836(1836-11-09) (aged 67)
Goochland County, Virginia
Political party Democratic-Republican
Alma mater College of William and Mary
Profession Lawyer, politician

James Pleasants, Jr. (October 24, 1769 – November 9, 1836)[1] was an American politician who served in the U.S. Senate from 1819 to 1822 and was the 22nd Governor of Virginia from 1822 to 1825.


Pleasants was born at “Cold Comfort,” in Washington County, Virginia, October 29, 1770. He pursued classical studies and graduated from the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia. He studied law and was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Amelia County, Virginia in 1791.

Pleasants was the son of James Pleasants and Ann Randolph, the daughter of Isham Randolph of Dungeness and granddaughter of William Randolph.[2] His sister was Susan.[2]

Pleasants was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates 1797-1802 and clerk of the house of delegates 1803-1811. On January 30, 1811, he was appointed to the Court of Appeals but resigned almost immediately. Pleasants was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the Twelfth and to the four succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1811, to December 14, 1819, when he resigned, having been elected a United States Senator. Pleasants served as chairman of the Committee on Public Expenditures (Thirteenth Congress), Committee on Expenditures in the Department of the Navy (Fifteenth Congress).

He was elected on December 10, 1819, as a Democrat-Republican to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John W. Eppes and served from December 14, 1819, to December 15, 1822, when he resigned. He was also chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs (Sixteenth and Seventeenth Congresses). He was chosen as Governor of Virginia, serving 1822-1825. Pleasants was a delegate to the State constitutional conventions in 1829 and 1830. He retired and lived on his estate, “Contention,” near Goochland, Goochland County, Virginia, where he died on November 9, 1836. He was buried on his estate. His brother-in-law and law partner, Eugene C. Massie, named his son James Pleasants Massie, after Pleasants. The name has been handed down, now to a total of four generations.

His son John Hampden Pleasants (1797-1846) founded the Richmond Whig newspaper, married twice, and later died in a duel with Thomas Ritchie, Jr.[3]


  1. ^  
  2. ^ a b Page, Richard Channing Moore (1893). "Randolph Family". Genealogy of the Page Family in Virginia (2 ed.). New York: Press of the Publishers Printing Co. pp. 263–264. 
  3. ^ "A Guide to the Pleasants family Papers, 1745-1898 Pleasants family Papers, 1745-1898 41008". Retrieved 5 March 2015. 

External links

  • A Guide to the Governor James Pleasants Executive Papers, 1822-1825 at The Library of Virginia
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
John W. Eppes
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 16th congressional district

March 4, 1811 – March 4, 1813
Succeeded by
John W. Eppes
Preceded by
Thomas Gholson, Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 17th congressional district

March 4, 1813 – December 14, 1819
Succeeded by
William S. Archer
United States Senate
Preceded by
John W. Eppes
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Virginia
December 14, 1819 – December 15, 1822
Served alongside: James Barbour
Succeeded by
John Taylor
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas M. Randolph
Governor of Virginia
December 1, 1822 – December 10, 1825
Succeeded by
John Tyler, Jr.
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